If you are into interior design and low-cost furniture, use Facebook and have not come across ‘The Shop of Little Things’, you are probably living under a rock. This hidden group on Facebook, which now has over eighty-five thousand followers, can help you find literally any furniture piece on the planet. Brainchild of Rafia Anns, an interior and furniture designer based out of Lahore, ‘The Shop of Little Things’ is all things interior and more. It is perhaps that one space in Pakistan that can design anything off Pinterest and the Internet and turn ideas into reality.
This journey began two years ago when Rafia found herself designing ten rooms for a guest house. She decided to design and produce the furniture herself instead of outsourcing it, which helped her understand furniture and build a portfolio. The next step was making a Facebook group, putting up her designs there and inviting friends and family. Rafia’s vision was different – she wanted to bring innovation in furniture in Pakistan. She wanted to experiment with bright colours, add spark and funk to design and make furniture that looked chic and smart.
While talking about her designing process, she mentioned that aesthetics, colour, durability and cost effectiveness are always on her mind. “I like to use bright colours as they attract people the most, look brilliant in summer and can be toned down with a throw or cushion for the grey winter months.”
Most of Rafia’s furniture is chic and youthful. Although she can make intricate traditional pieces but it’s costly and the safest way to brighten up a space is to use innovative pieces. One of the most sought-after pieces these days are the log tables and Rafia has made plenty of them at ‘The Shop of Little Things’ but the space has much more than the log tables.
When asked about textures, Rafia told that velvet is the safest bet for chairs and sofas. “Velvet looks stunning in any colour; it is durable and goes on for a long time and gives a very royal finish and neat look.” While she recommends a solid colour and velvet for sofas and chairs, she also believes that using quirky, chic and bright cushions can really turn any sofa or chair into a statement piece. She adds that attractive cushions are a great way to change the look of existing chairs and sofas around the house.
According to her, while designing a home, one should keep subtle shades and colours for the bedrooms and brighter colours for the living spaces. When clients come to Rafia, she advises on shades like royal blue, maroon, mustard and emerald green for the living room while shades of neutral colours like beige and grey for bedrooms.
Besides the colour, the print is also very important and while Rafia recommends using plain coloured cloth, she does enjoy experimenting with statement prints once in a while. For instance, she uses black and white stripes and complements them with bright colours. For instance, if the back of a chair is in stripes, the front is going to be a bright colour like red, yellow or green. Similarly, she uses a combination of floral and plain as well and it works brilliantly.
Rafia believes that there are certain elements that play a great role in the interior and overall look of a place. “Furniture and accessories like rugs and paintings are two of these elements. Putting together bright and vibrant furniture or a statement rug or painting can instantly add a happy aura to any dull space.”
For Rafia, investing in new furniture is not the only way to change the look of a space. According to her, there are several other options; existing furniture can be redone too. “The cost of redoing is a lot cheaper; the same furniture base can be used to revamp the whole look. Also, investing in pieces like a new rug, a painting, planters and plants can also completely change the ambiance.”
Talking about art, Rafia said that one doesn’t need to invest too much if they cannot afford it. “The beauty of art is that it doesn’t have to be expensive because all of it is relative and priceless. If one is creative, they can paint themselves as it’s a great activity and helps one relax. Otherwise, there are many amateur and budding artists around doing brilliant work.”
Similarly, Rafia also agrees that plants play a great role in the overall design and look of any place. She recommends adding in plants to a living space or a communal room when one wants to change the look without investing in new furniture. Since most of us are spending a lot of time at home due to quarantine, getting a few plants in is also a great way to be close to nature while staying at home. “We have great planter options that are made for indoors to complement the neat and organised vibe. These planters make the plants look like statement pieces in any room.”
The pandemic has redefined the way we live and if there is one thing it has taught us, it is that home is all we have got, so investing in it to make it homely and feel nicer is nothing but a great idea! Head over to ‘The Shop of Little Things’ to learn new ways to revamp your space and make it livelier and homely.